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Averitt's Artist in Residence
Lindsey Jenkins teaches classes at the Averitt Center
Averitt Center for the Arts Artist in residence Lindsey Jenkins files away the latest work from her children's class before the adults arrive for their lesson. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    Note: This is the first of two stories about the Averitt Center’s new Artists in Residence. This story focuses on Lindsey Jenkins, Artist in Residence for art. See Lifestyles on Sunday, October 25, for a feature on Betty Franklin, Artist in Residence for theater.

    Lindsey Jenkins' personal paintings are fixated on pin-ups and 1950s B-movies, but the Averitt Center's new resident artist teaches students, young and old, to work with a variety of artistic media.
    The Averitt Center for the Arts is trying something new this year as it has added two new resident artists to its staff. After a vigorous search campaign, Jenkins was selected from more than a dozen applications for the inaugural position in art.
    She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University in painting and has extensive training in ceramics and sculpting. According to Executive Director Tim Chapman, Jenkins was chosen for her ability to work with and teach a variety of art methods.
    “Lindsey is the perfect artist in residency for our facility because she is capable of working in a wide range of media and instructing artists to use those media,” Chapman said.
    Chapman said the center was looking to provide more instructional programming for aspiring artists in the community.
    “We're trying to create a continuum of programs that will significantly help aspiring artists to build their craft and skill,” Chapman said. “So we decided the only way to do that was to take a risk and hire an artist in residence. We did that in both art and theatre this year.”
    As part of their residency positions, the artists are required to offer youth and adult community classes in their respective disciplines. In Thursday's class, Jenkins' students painted medieval shields made from foam board. She said the youth class is about fostering a love for art.
    “With the youth class, I'm just trying to integrate the basic principles and elements of design into a fun-filled environment,” Jenkins said. “Like the shields today, that was pure fun. But they learned about quartering — I made the kids measure it out — they learned about patterns and they learned about color mixing.
    “The 5-year-old was covered in paint — I love that.”
    Jenkins said the adult class was originally intended to be a more advanced oil painting course, but most of her students needed more elementary instruction.
    “With the adult class, I'm starting them off with basic drawing and we're going to slowly work towards painting,” Jenkins said.
    As an artist in residence, Jenkins is given access to a third floor Averitt Center studio in which to work. Considering she has been painting in her living room for the past year with a tarp covering one wall to protect it from damage, the third floor studio is much more to her liking.
    “It's a beautiful view and it's a good sized space — I really like it,” Jenkins said. “I can't wait to get totally settled in because I really want to paint.”
    In addition to the art position, Betty Franklin was named the Artist in Residency for theater. Franklin has a Ph.D in Theater and has been a theater instructor for the bulk of her career.
    “Both of are artists are extremely well-qualified, they engage the public very well and people respond well to them,” Chapman said.
    The artist in residency programs enable the Averitt Center to offer a wide range of classes, but Chapman said the idea is to keep the classes small so the students get more personal instruction from the artist. The fee-based program was built into the Averitt Center's budget for this year with the hopes it can be self-sustaining in the future.
    Classes for both art and theater are held Thursdays, 4 - 5:15 p.m. for youth and 5:30-6:45 p.m. for adults.  The classes are open to the public and the fee is $20 per session. Classes are currently held on a week-to-week basis, so anyone can stop buy, pay the fee and participate in that evening's class. Private lessons are available and can be scheduled with the artist.
    For those interested in viewing some of Jenkins' work, she has an exhibit hanging at West Main Gallery , located on West Main Street. The show will be open until Oct. 31.

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